Tottenham Transfers: 10 January Targets to Put Spurs Back in Champions League
On the heels of a seven-game unbeaten streak in the Premiership, Tottenham looks to be gaining ground on Chelsea for the third-place spot in the league table and an automatic spot in next year's Champions League.
But it's not a lock yet, and fans at White Hart Lane know it: Newcastle United has come out of nowhere to go unbeaten in their first 10 matches and Chelsea is still the best team in London.
Tottenham can beat both of these teams and even give the Manchester teams a run for their money, but only if they are aggressive in January. The team doesn't need a complete overhaul (i.e., Fulham) but there are several pieces missing.
Here are 10 potential targets (in no particular order) that Harry Redknapp and company should target in January to put Tottenham back in Champions League.
Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow)
This one's easy and fairly well-documented, but I'm going to put it up there anyway, since signing Seydou Doumbia would undoubtedly put Tottenham over the top.
He's one of the top scorers in the Russian league with 22 goals, and he'll only be 24 years old by the time the January transfer window opens.
Russian news agencies are reporting that Spurs will offer a cash-plus-player deal involving Roman Pavlyuchenko (who hasn't started a league game for Tottenham this season) in an effort to land the Ivory Coast international.
Pavlyuchenko wants to go back to Russia, and Harry Redknapp would love the opportunity to add one more striker to his arsenal.
Trade Pav and a few million pounds for Doumbia? I'm sure I speak for fans at White Hart Lane when I say, "Yes, please!"
Papiss Cisse (SC Freiburg)
If the deal for Doumbia doesn't work out, I'd really love to see Tottenham go after Papiss Cisse.
Cisse is another striker that is at the top of his respective league's goal-scoring chart, except instead of the Russian Premier League, Cisse plays for Germany's Bundesliga.
Coming into this season, Cisse averaged 0.60 goals per league game with SC Freiburg. He's only improved upon that number this season, scoring seven times in 11 appearances.
Spurs need goal scorers like Cisse on the team to compete with high-powered offenses like Manchester City (3.6 goals per match), Manchester United (2.7 goals per match) and Chelsea (2.3 goals per match).
I'd rather see Doumbia come over to London because I think he distributes the ball a little better and is three years younger than Cisse. But if Doumbia can't be landed, I'm sure we'd all love to see Cisse in blue and white come January.
Leandro Damiao (Internacional)
If neither Doumbia or Cisse work out (and I can't see Spurs going for both and neither coming to White Hart Lane), a great option for Redknapp and Levy to consider would be Leandro Damiao from Internacional in Brazil.
Damiao is another versatile player that Redknapp could plug into either the midfield or striker position (although he's far more adept at striker). Wherever he's put though, he always finds himself near the ball. So far this season, he's made 23 appearances, scoring 13 goals and assisting five others.
The Brazilian international is only 22 years old and has only played as a striker since 2009. That tells me he still has a lot of growing to do and probably has the most upside of any player on this list.
David Hoilett (Blackburn Rovers)
With the Daily Mail reporting that contract talks are stalling between David Hoilett and Rovers, Tottenham would do well to swoop in and raid Blackburn's nearly empty cupboard.
Hoilett is a talent that won't even turn 22 until right before next season. He's a player with plenty of upside who has already returned dividends on Blackburn's investment, scoring six goals and assisting on another in 28 appearances last season. So far this season, he's collected a goal and three assists.
The winger would give Tottenham on the right side of the field what they have on the left side of the field with Gareth Bale—a player who will outrun opposing midfielders and get the ball into the penalty box. To have Bale and Hoilett on the field at the same time would provide balance and allow Tottenham to attack from either the left or the right.
Tottenham provides an opportunity to play for a winning club, increase exposure and a chance to go up against opponents in the Champions League.
Blackburn provides an opportunity to fight off relegation and a chance to go up against teams in The Championship.
Redknapp, Levy and the rest of the Spurs brass know just how much more attractive it is to play at White Hart Lane than Ewood Park and will use it to their advantage.
Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao)
If Tottenham can't get Hoilett in the January transfer window, Daniel Levy might want to take a look at Ander Herrera, who I believe to be one of Spain's best wingers.
I like Herrera for all the same reasons I like Hoilett—he's young, he's fast and he'd provide a balanced, quick-strike capability for Spurs when paired with Gareth Bale on the outside of the midfield.
Will Herrera want to leave his home country of Spain to go to England? Maybe. Athletic Bilbao is currently eighth in La Liga, but if they drop any further, the prospect to play for a rising club in London may be an attractive one.
Mark Van Bommel (Milan)
Mark van Bommel is an older player, but one that could provide at least two, maybe three years of solid play at midfield for Spurs.
ACMilan.com has reported that his contract was extended with the team, but there have been numerous accounts of financial disputes with the club and problems with current head coach Massimiliano Allegri.
He has expressed interest in a move to England, and the prospect of linking up with fellow Netherlands international Rafael van der Vaart could be the catalyst that gets the Milan midfielder in a Spurs jersey.
Gary Cahill (Bolton Wanderers)
If there's one thing we learned from Tottenham's latest Europa match against Rubin Kazan, it's that White Hart Lane needs some defenders and they need them now.
CrunchSports.com is reporting that Tottenham is the front-runner for the 25-year-old Cahill, but Arsenal and Chelsea are also vying for his services. Arsenal failed to snatch him up in August, however, and I don't think they'll be successful again in January.
Ledley King is on his last leg (literally), and William Gallas had to be brought up to the final 18 for last week's match against Queens Park Rangers—a move I'm sure Redknapp wouldn't have made if someone halfway decent were available.
Cahill would prove invaluable at defender, pairing well at centre-back with whoever Redknapp puts next to him, maybe even helping to extend goalkeeper Brad Friedel's career by a year or two.
Tottenham is a four-defender team as long as Redknapp is in charge (which might not be for long), so they need all the good defenders they can get. Even if Redknapp goes on to replace Fabio Capello as manager of England's national team, Spurs' next coach will be happy that Cahill was brought on to shore up a shaky back line.
Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich)
While it's an incredible long shot, Jerome Boateng for Bayern Munich would provide an incredible boost to a back line that is lacking, especially in the center.
Physically strong and composed, Boateng has garnered a reputation as a tough-tackling, versatile defender who can go up and support the midfield in attacks.
I know that Cahill is the front-runner in terms of Tottenham's search for a defender during the January transfer window, but why not see if the former Manchester City star wants to return to the Premiership?
Emir Spahic (Sevilla)
Emir Spahic is another central defender that may not be as well known as Cahill or Boateng but is just as skilled in the center of the defensive line.
At 31, he's a little older than either of the previous candidates, but don't let the age fool you. His birth certificate might say 31, but he's only earned 281 caps over his 13-year career. That might mean a bargain price for the Bosnian international who still has more than half a decade of good football left in him.
He was signed by Sevilla for a transfer price of £2 million, but has a contract running through 2014 with the Spanish club.
It might take a hefty buy-out price to get him, but he'd be a low-risk, high-reward transfer and would help a potentially depleted roster of defenders when it comes time to play more important games in the Europa League and maybe even make a run for one of the top three spots in the Premiership.
Asmir Begovic (Stoke City)
Without Asmir Begovic, Stoke City would be fighting off relegation. Instead, on the heels of four clean sheets by the Bosnian international, Potters are just seven points out of a return to the Europa League.
Don't get me wrong—I think Brad Friedel is doing a masterful job in front of net. The former American international has caught his second (or third, or fourth) since coming to White Hart Lane, but even with an improved defensive line ahead of him, the 40-year-old has already earned over 500 caps in his career and isn't going to last forever.
Securing Begovic wouldn't help Tottenham get to the Champions League as much as he would help keep them there.
I'd love to see Spurs pick up Begovic in January and play him when they get to the knockout stage of their Europa campaign. He'd most likely earn the starting job by next summer, making Friedel an excellent choice at keeper in the Champions League when matches and training sessions overlap.
Do I think Stoke City would let Tottenham come in and take their best player? Not really. But Tottenham needs a keeper soon, and Begovic is good. At only 24 years old, he's sure to get even better and Redknapp can nab him at a bargain price.